...Continued from page 1

Radio France–Info's Sunday morning news led off with a story of a soldier threatening to blow up a military bomb depot at Connantray–Vaurefroy in the eastern Marne department. The Prefect of the Marne ordered the evacuation of 400 nearby residents living in the villages of Connantray, Lenharrée and Normée, all close to the depot.

According to various reports, the Prefect thought the soldier had been inside the bomb depot since Fridayphoto, ice skate, montparnasse evening, but no contact had been established. It was unknown if he was armed.

Ice rinks are open at Montparnasse, the Hôtel de Ville, and on the 1st stage of the Tour Eiffel.

All that seemed to be known is that the soldier, a non–commissioned officer, is 47 years old and is at the military's age limit and has just received his retirement orders. It was thought that he wanted to continue his career, according to a note discovered by authorities – which turned out to be a letter sent to the Minister of Defense.

Gendarmes established a zone of security around the site which is located about 30 kilometres southwest of Châlons–en–Champagne. Sunday evening TV–news added that the soldier had no phone and was communicating with written notes.

The unhappy soon–to–be ex–soldier was also reported to be an explosives expert, and sources said the bomb depot contained 63 tons of army–grade explosives and tank mines.

In the end, today, the soldier surrendered and is now in army custody. The story was featured as 'Le geste fou' on Le Parisien's pages two and three. Apparently the soldier had missed several promotions over a period of a decade. With one grade higher he would not have to retire until age 55.

Lost Anything?

Try out the new search and site map page when you get bored with this issue. The link to it can be accessed from the navigation line at the top and bottom of some pages.

Headline of the Week

Monday's Le Parisien wins again, with "4 millions de pauvres." This morning the 'Restos du Coeur' resumed winter operations. Twenty years after the emergency service was founded by the comedian Coluche, the poor are still hungry or cold.

The Latest Café Metropole Club 'Report'

The recent club meeting's 'The Fab Seven' club report is still hot and online, with standing room only. If the 'Group of the Week' finds its popularity growing they'll no doubt be returning for a continuation of their popular act.

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, which is on a Thursday as usual. Thephoto, grande mosque Saint's 'Day of the Week' will be Saint–Pierre Fourier. This saint; born in 1565, was popular in Lorraine for setting up an interest–free loan operation, and for annoying Protestants.

Paris' Grande Mosque, near the Jardin des Plantes.

Other, somewhat humble facts about the club can be found on the 'About the Club' page. The impressionistic graphic of the virtual club membership card on this page looks better online than printed, but who cares? The club membership itself is absolutely free too, even if walking to meetings takes longer than flying.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago

Issue 8.50 – 8. Dec 2003 – for this week the Café Metropole column began with, 'Some Bar Hopping.' A Paris Life column by Laurel Avery concerned 'The Security–Crazed Naked Airport Maze.' This issue had three Scène columns, titled 'Tourist Office To Move,' 'More Noël in Paris' and 'Scène's Eves – Christmas and New Years.' The Café Metropole Club update for 11. December was headlined as thephoto, sign, rue larrey 'Real Turtle Soup' report. There were four new 'Posters of the Week' and the caption of Ric's weekly cartoon was "Just taste it!"

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago

Issue 7.50 – 9. Dec 2002 – this issue's Café Metropole column led off with 'A Small Issue, For a Change.' For doubters Jim Auman wrote about 'exceptions,' with "Tout à Bas!" Wine News followed with 'Metropole's Wine Visits Las Vegas.' The first Scène column was titled 'New Stuff, Current Stuff and 'Last Chance' Stuff.' The other Scène column dealt with 'Noël 2002 – More or Less.' The Café Metropole Club update for 12. December resulted in the 'Dennis' Toy Show and Swing Club' report. There were four regular Paris type 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned, 'Your Red Suit.'

'Countdowns' Move Over

The ancient feature 'Quote of the Week' is back again for the sixth time in modern history. Here's a dilly – "Ooh, with a little luck – December will be magic again." This is attributed to Kate Bush, who I don't believe is any relation.photo, sign, rue de la clef

The Only Real, Urgent, Actual, 'Countdown'

A month ago, about, writing from then snow–bound New Jersey Jim Auman wrote, "The local weekly French newspaper announced the upcoming 100th anniversary of the death of Jules Verne. A trip to the Encyclopedia Britannica revealed that Monsieur Verne died on March 24, 1905 – not exactly a close, upcoming event."

Possibly not for New Jersey, no longer snowbound, but for Paris this major anniversary is still a mere 109 days from now.

One Famous Anniversary Today Is Enough

On this, no longer Albania'sphoto, xmas bunny of the week National Day, it is with great pleasure that I announce the anniversary of the death of Saint–Nicolas of Myra. He lived in the 4th century in Byzantine Anatolia and had a reputation for secret gift–giving. This is the day of his feast, except in Holland, where it was yesterday. It is called Sinterklaasavond there, or St. Nicholas' Eve. He is also known as a guy who did miracles. He is supposed to be confused with Nicholas of Sion, who came along later.

The cute Christmas 'Bunny of the Week' again.

In the Anglo world, 'Sinterklaas' got mangled into 'Santa Claus.' Martin Luther didn't care for this Nicolas on account of being a saint, so he invented a 'Christkind' party for Christmas Eve. Some Protestants celebrate Saint–Nicolas, especially in Holland, but many more Catholics have adopted Luther's fête.

Today's Other Extra 'Significant Dates of the Week'

There are only 24 days left of this year. This is exactly the same number of 'days left,' as at this time in 1778 when Joseph–Louis Gay–Lussac was born. He is famous for 'Charles's Law, about gas expanding. This is completely unconnected to the fact that this year has used up 341 days, the same number that 1805 had when the magician Jean Eugène Robert– Houdin was born in Blois. Harry Houdini borrowed Houdin's name because Houdin was 'the father of modern magic,' but Harry changed his mind.
signature, regards, ric

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